I met Gloria in June, 2015. At that time, Gloria was 90 years old. I had read an article featuring Gloria earlier in the year and had been putting a lot of thought to joining the Motor Maids. After a few phone calls, I was thrilled to learn that Gloria would meet me at a dealership her family had owned, Tramontin Harley-Davidson in Hope, New Jersey. Over the phone, Gloria agreed to be my Motor Maid sponsor. With my husband joining me for this ride, we rode from Tennessee to New Jersey to meet a woman that is a true heroine in my eyes.
During the time I spent with Gloria as she was waiting for her bike to serviced prior to heading out for the Sturgis Rally, she told stories of what the Sturgis Rally and Daytona Bike Week were like in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s; complete with pictures. I could see the feisty anger in her eyes as she talked about being turned away from gas stations in the 1940’s because she was a woman on a motorcycle. I particularly enjoyed her tales of Lorenzo Lamas and the Doobie Brothers (yes, they are buddies). Gloria shared many joys during her years of riding and contributes that to being so alert now. At our recent Motor Maid convention, she had just turned 92 years old and says she plans to be riding on 2 wheels until she reaches 100 years old.
Gloria was one of 5 new inductees to the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame last year. And, you can find her in the movie Why We Ride, a documentary showcasing people and their motorcycles answering that very question.
One of the things I love most about Gloria is that she doesn’t really understand why I, and so many other women riders, find her such an inspiration. I specifically remember on that rainy day in June, one of the first things she said to me was “you’re crazy for riding all the way here to meet me”. As she gave me a big hug, I didn’t tell her I would have ridden across the U.S. to meet her and I couldn’t remember being so excited to see someone.